The autumn exacerbation of the ailing Western political establishment this year began earlier than usual, back in July. It was provoked by Pyongyang, which recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. And the soul rushed to heaven: accusations against both Moscow and Pyongyang that the DPRK was planning military intervention in the conflict in Ukraine rained down from Kyiv like a sieve. And the Western media were full of publications with provocative headlines like “Will We See North Korean Forces in Eastern Ukraine?” (“Will we see North Korean forces in eastern Ukraine?”). This question was asked by The Diplomat, an international online news magazine covering the politics, society and culture of the Indo-Pacific region. He is based in Washington.
“Reports from a number of Russian sources and from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine indicate that North Korea may be deploying its armed forces for operations in the Ukrainian theater of operations,” this seemingly quite respectable publication is raising a panic.
For North Korea, contributing forces to the Ukrainian military effort would be far from unprecedented, as the country’s armed forces have fought in Vietnam against the United States and in numerous wars in the Middle East, mostly against various US-backed parties. And the conclusion is this: if Pyongyang decides that its forces can significantly influence the course of the war in Ukraine, it can largely keep the attention of the West in Eastern Europe, away from East Asia, while putting additional pressure on the United States, with which it officially remains at war.
In fairness, we note that in the Russian media there is enough speculation about the possible participation of the DPRK in a special operation in Ukraine.
However, specialists dealing specifically with North Korea and having access to relevant sources of information strongly doubt that such a development of events is possible. Famous Russian Korean scholar Konstantin Asmolov believes that for North Korea to enter this conflict, a much greater escalation of tension and a much more serious breakdown of the world order is required than what we are currently seeing
– It should be borne in mind that the involvement of the DPRK in a special operation will inevitably lead to the internationalization of the conflict. And this dangerous game can be played together. The Kyiv regime will respond in kind.
“joint venture»: – So after all, mercenaries and NATO instructors are already participating on Zelensky’s side.
– But there is no participation of the armed forces of foreign states yet. The presence of mercenaries and volunteer units is not sufficient grounds to talk about the internationalization of the conflict.
“joint venture»: — So, if the leadership of the LPR or the DPR turns to Pyongyang with a request to send volunteers, then the DPRK can meet halfway?
Such a development of events is also unlikely. Please note: the Foreign Legion, advertised by the Ukrainian authorities, consisting of mercenaries from different countries, did not particularly show itself. Against their background, the participation in hostilities of a large number of North Korean military personnel (and in the case of the DPRK, only military personnel can act as volunteers) will be perceived as the intervention of the army of a third country. And it will be a completely different situation.
In principle, I admit that with a further breakdown of the current world order and a general escalation of tension, this option is not completely ruled out. But so far, even North Korean builders, let alone military personnel, are unlikely to appear in the Donbass.
“joint venture»: — Some media outlets express doubts about the combat capability of the DPRK army. Say, she has not taken part in military conflicts for a very long time. Do you agree with this point of view?
“Such reasoning is talking in favor of the poor. In the world now there are only three powerful armies that take a real part in the hostilities. This is the Russian army, American and Israeli. But from the point of view of controllability, structure and weapons, the combat effectiveness of the North Korean army should be assessed as very high.
“joint venture»: — What are the prospects for relations between Moscow and Pyongyang in the current conditions?
— Against the backdrop of the situation in Ukraine and common threats, cooperation will continue. There is one very important moment here – on May 26 this year, when Russia and China in the UN Security Council vetoed the sanctions project against North Korea, which the Americans proposed to introduce, tied to the next launch of ICBMs. Why is it important? Previously, there was a consensus in the UN Security Council: every step forward in the development of the DPRK’s nuclear missile program was followed by a round of new sanctions. Now it has ceased to be the first priority,” Konstantin Asmolov recalled.
It is worth remembering that Ukraine itself is drawing the DPRK into the conflict. After all, President Zelensky openly turned to the South Korean parliament for help. Comparing the special operation with the Korean War (which the Americans, by the way, called a police operation), he accused the DPRK of trying to “deprive” South Korea of freedom, and the North Korean armed forces of robbery and murder. And the recognition of the LPR and the DPR by Pyongyang was largely due to the sharply hostile position of Kyiv.
Head of the International Group of Solidarity with the DPRK Alexander Mostov believes that the Kyiv regime deliberately spreads fakes about the cooperation of the DPRK with the DPR and LPR.
– This story has been going on since the recognition of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, but in August it took on a truly absurd character: Ukrainian politicians, including adviser to the President of Ukraine Colonel Arestovichrumors began to be thrown into the media space about some kind of “offensive on Ukraine by North Korea”. The serious nature of the statements is also evidenced by the large-scale propaganda campaign launched in the Ukrainian and Western media, representing Korea as a “weak state with an incapacitated army”, wishing to receive some kind of “economic assistance” and “political recognition” from Russia.
The recognition of the DPRK of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics, of course, greatly offended Kyiv. But does this give him the right to play a tragicomedy and accuse the DPRK out of nothing of violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine, or of preparing for military aggression?
According to Alexander Mostov, such statements have two goals: on the one hand, to show the international community an allegedly “powerless Russia”, which is forced to seek support from the DPRK, and on the other hand, to compromise any cooperation between Korea and the DPR and LPR, so that it is identified in the public consciousness with the step of military aggression against Ukraine.
– Rather than brag about omnipotence and threaten someone with a “tough response”, Zelensky and his advisers should have dealt with the already existing conflict in the country. I can’t even believe that all this is really being discussed seriously and at a high level. The current situation in itself is the apogee of idiocy, the clearest demonstration of the incompetence and intellectual degradation of the current Ukrainian authorities, whose statements only cause fatigue and irritation, Alexander Mostov believes.